Febuary 2012

Sex offender jailed over predatory texts

A “predatory” sex offender from Gurney Slade targeted teenaged girls in Wells by leaving scraps of paper with his contact name and mobile phone number around the city centre.

He responded to calls by sending numerous text messages of a sexual nature, including an indecent photo of a male and requests for naked pictures of his victims who were aged 12 to 17, Taunton Crown Court was told.

He also sent a picture of a naked young girl to a boy he was texting at the same time.

A 15-year-old girl in September 2010 asked to be left alone after Simon Diclaudio, 37, sent her “numerous” messages, said Virginia Cornwall, prosecuting. He persisted, asking for pictures and details of herself and she described herself as being scared.

The following month, a 14- year-old girl began receiving messages, starting with general chit-chat but then she was asked where she lived and how old she was. She asked to be left alone, saying her father was a police officer, and he replied “He will know me, as I am a paedophile”, she added.

A 16-year-old had found two pieces of paper with his name and number and, after responding, received about 200 texts.

She was asked if she wanted to chat and, when she declined, Diclaudio tried to persuade her he was of school age.

A 17-year-old received texts in December and a 15-year-old received a large number of abusive messages in January.

“The girls were concerned about what happened and that the defendant would find out who they were,” she said.

In January, one of the mothers contacted the police and he was identified by one of his mobile phone numbers.

Two mobile phones and a list of 25 numbers were recovered from his home when Diclaudio was arrested and a handwriting expert said there was “strong evidence” that he had written a note which was discovered in the city.

Miss Cornwall said he was convicted of four offences of exposure in Wells in 2009 – a 62-year-old woman in the city, a 14-year-old girl near Wells Cathedral School, and two against a 15-year-old. He also received a caution for texting a female in February 2010 saying he wanted to see her beaten up. He was a Wells resident and all the offences happened in Wells.

Patrick Mason, defending, said Diclaudio had a place to go to, with his mother in Shepton Mallet, having been on remand in custody for the equivalent of a seven-month prison sentence. He “never laid a finger on anyone”, and needed all the assistance he could get.

Judge Graham Hume Jones said Diclaudio had a troubled background and there was particular concern that he had convictions for exposure and was on a sex offenders’ programme when he committed the current offences.

Diclaudio was sentenced to 28 months in prison after admitting six offences of harassment and three of inciting child pornography.

He was placed under a sex offenders’ programme until further order, banned from working with children and ordered to sign the Sex Offenders’ Register for ten years.

He was also ordered to forfeit his mobile phones.